A sparrow just flew into my window. Clearly the security guards are playing Birds with me. But I refuse to let anything distract me from delivering this crucial warning. Mankind is sleepwalking towards a global catastrophe. I am talking, of course, about the worldwide epidemic of poor clothing choices.
On the morning of writing this I saw a huge number of people (two) wearing orange and brown checked golf trousers in public. This was in full view of delicate, impressionistic minds, such as those of small children and government ministers.
At work, a colleague showed me a news report saying that an adult male wearing an ankle-length leopard-print dress walked into a bank in the US state of New Hampshire and demanded a teller hand over the money. He had no gun – his only weapon was his atrocious dress sense. It was enough. She handed over the cash, realizing that a person with such bad clothing choices had to be highly dangerous.
I used to work with a punk rock fashion victim who once turned up with her buttons fastened out of alignment. When I pointed this out, she snarled: "It’s fashion, look it up." I did look it up. It wasn’t fashion. But this line is incredibly useful for covering up all acts of sartorial stupidity. Me: "I think you sat on a two-kilo lemon cheesecake and most of it is still attached to your nether region." Her: "It’s fashion, look it up." It’s not fashion.
In London, the in thing for the rich is to dress like homeless people. This is tricky. I meet someone and never know whether to give them my business card or drop small change into their mug. Getting this wrong is so humiliating that even half-remembering causes my head to reboot.
Over-dressing sucks too. I once turned up at a function at a Grand Hyatt hotel wearing a hand-made Nehru suit. As I walked through the hotel restaurant, everyone kept trying to press money and credit cards into my hand, thinking I was a waiter. I seriously considered standing in the toilet for half an hour to collect tips.
Thank God men don’t have to think about accessories. I’ll never forget the time our dentist told my daughter she needed a crown. Big smile. "I know, right," she grinned.
I might go and ask my non-heterosexual friend for clothing advice, as he genuinely dresses better than I do. Must be something to do with all that time he had to spend in the closet.
At least I have never bought the wrong clothes in bulk. A division of the Chinese army recently appeared in public wearing a new uniform, according to a news report sent to me by a reader. When the soldiers sat down, more than 100 pairs of trousers ripped simultaneously – and audibly.
I’m SO glad I wasn’t there, as I would have laughed out loud: not a good idea when facing angry men with guns. What the commanding officer should have done, of course, is to pretend that the split, bottom-revealing trousers were intentional, by explaining to onlookers: "It’s fashion, look it up."